The wide grip lat pulldown is a vertical pull exercise that strengthens muscles over multiple joints. These include the shoulder, scapulothoracic, elbow and even through the hip.
Though this exercise seems pretty straightforward, proper form makes all the difference in not only getting the most out of the exercise while keeping it safe.
Here is how to perform the wide grip lat pulldown (settings will vary depending on the type of machine you use):
- Adjust the bench so you can grab the bar in an overhead grip from a seated position.
- Next, adjust the knee pad so the legs fit securely and knees are positioned at 90 degrees. This is so you don't fly off the seat when the bar moves upward
- Grab the bar with an overhand grip slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. For some of you this will be right outside where the bar angles off, but those with narrower shoulders, this will be right on the angle or even slightly inside.
- While performing the exercise keep a neutral spine and feet locked into the floor.
- Lean back slightly (70-80 degrees of hip flexion), exhale and pull the bar downward in front of the body. There is an old school behind the neck variation. That, however, puts the shoulder joint in a compromised position and isn't the safest option. So let's stick with in front of the body only.
- One thing you'll want to be careful of here is internally rotating your shoulders. Avoid this by pulling your scapula down and back and driving your elbows toward the floor.
- Pull the bar until it reaches chin level or slightly below
- Do not jerk the bar down, throwing your low back into extension. This is a controlled movement, and a stable and neutral spine should be maintained the entire time.
- Pause for 1 second at the bottom, inhale and slowly let the bar ascend to the starting position.
- Keep the shoulders adducted, and elbows pointing at the floor and avoid shrugging as the bar moves upward.